Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2015)
Operation of judicial precedent in Malaysia and Nigeria: A comparative analysis
Author(s): Murtala Ganiyu Murgan, Dr Abdul Ghafur, Dr Abdul Haseeb Ansari
Abstract: The doctrine of judicial precedent, which states that the court must stand by what has been decided in a case when deciding a new case by a judge in court, is commonly known among the countries that practice common law system, but the operation of the doctrine is said to differ. This paper makes a comparative study of operation of judicial precedent in Malaysia and Nigeria, with a view to knowing the areas of difference, similarity and improvement. Based on doctrinal research approach, this paper examines operation of doctrine of judicial precedent among different categories of courts in Malaysia and Nigeria. Some discrepancies observed are that under the practice of horizontal precedent, the decision of Federal court in Malaysia is bound by precedent while the Supreme Court in Nigeria is not. Also, the decision of Court of Appeal in Nigeria is bound by precedent while that of Malaysia is not. However, the similarities observed in the practice of precedent are that the decisions of High courts and Magistrate courts in Malaysia are bound by precedent just like in Nigeria. Also, judicial precedent is not applicable to Shari’ah courts, the Native and customary courts in Malaysia and Nigeria. The paper concludes that more attention should be paid to observing horizontal precedent by the Supreme Court and Appeal Court in the two countries. This study provides an opportunity to compare note on the administration of judicial precedent in Nigeria and Malaysia.